Thursday, November 28, 2013

Shop small


In 2012, the big story around the Thanksgiving holiday was that retailers were opening at midnight. This year, the timetable has moved up, with many major retailers opening in the early evening on Thanksgiving.

shop small
In September, Menards had Halloween and Christmas items on display at the same time.
Amid all of the doorbusters and competition for consumers' wallets, another movement has been underway. A backlash is happening, with major retailers such as Nordstrom, Home Depot and Costco staying dark on Thanksgiving.

I'm also seeing more enthusiasm for Small Business Saturday, which was created by American Express in 2010 as a way to encourage consumers to shop at their local stores. However, there are ways that non-retail small businesses can participate in Small Business Saturday as well.

We need to preserve Thanksgiving for family (and football) before it's too late. Shopping can wait.

P.S. To get a quick overview of the shopping days around Thanksgiving, read this earlier post.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Leading Minneapolis-St. Paul PR pros reflect on careers

It's not a typical evening when six veteran public relations executives serve on a panel together. That
fleishman hillard
Moderator Doug Spong quizzes panelists at the event.
was the case, however, when the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosted its "PR with the Pros" event at the Cambria Gallery on 7th in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 13.

"If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself?" asked Doug Spong APR, Fellow PRSA, moderator of the event and the president and founder of Carmichael Lynch Spong.

"Don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes," replied David Hakensen, APR, the senior vice president and general manager of the FleishmanHillard Minneapolis-St. Paul office.

Other panel participants included:
  • Diana Harvey, University of Minnesota Chief Communications Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff to President Eric Kaler;
  • Rose McKinney, APR, Founder and CEO of Pineapple Reputation Management;
  • Jeff Shelman, Senior Manager of Corporate Public Relations at Best Buy;
  • Jason Thunstrom, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Life Time Fitness; and
  • Greg Zimprich, APR, Senior Vice President of Agency Operations and Strategic Insights at Kohnstamm Communications.
In addition to taking risks, both Shelman and Thunstrom emphasized the importance of understanding business, and accounting in particular, to succeed in public relations.

Thunstrom said that "the challenge and the thrill of what's coming tomorrow" keeps him excited about public relations. He shared a story about former WCCO-TV reporter Dave Moore and his professionalism. "There used to be a commitment to balance, and that has gone by the wayside," said Thunstrom.

Panelists reflected on the Minneapolis-St. Paul market as a creative hub, the strength of the Minnesota PRSA chapter and the "coopetition" among agencies. "There are tons of opportunities for creative partnerships. Many great companies and brands call this place home," said Zimprich.

Two of the panelists, Hakensen and Spong, were recognized at the beginning of the event for their recent, highly prestigious industry honors.

best buy public relations
Jason Thunstrom and Jeff Shelman meet with attendees.
Hakensen received the inaugural PRSA Midwest District Platinum Award for his contributions to the organization at the national, regional and local levels.

Spong recently was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows and received PRSA's highest
individual honor, the Gold Anvil Award, for lifetime achievement in public relations.

After the panel discussion, attendees broke out into smaller groups and panelists visited each group to provide one-on-one interaction. 

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Non-traditional media panel reveals many similarities

While the lines between traditional media, blogs and the social space have become increasingly blurred, many things remain constant.

Building relationships, following up and writing solid content still are important; even the telephone has a place in today’s new media world.

The Non-Traditional Media Panel
“Social media is a great way to build relationships and interact, although email is the preferred way to pitch,” said Jay Gabler of Minnesota Public Radio, one of the participants at a Minnesota PRSA non-traditional media panel hosted by Carmichael Lynch Spong.

Other members of the panel included: Rick Kupchella of BringMeTheNews; John Garland of the Heavy Table and the Growler Magazine; Missy Berggren (aka the “Marketing Mama”) of WCG; and Bruno Bornsztein of Curbly, LLC.

Each participant has had success in his or her own right in the new media sphere. For instance, Kupchella’s BringMeTheNews and related companies have created 100 jobs so far and have received $4.5 million in investments to date. Berggren has transformed her Marketing Mama blog from a way to initially express herself into an award-winning site.

Human interactions, whether good or difficult, still are important in new media.

“Any time I write about beer, inevitably someone is going to call me an idiot,” said Garland. “People are passionate about beer.”

Garland added that he is most impressed when restaurants take his Heavy Table reviews to heart and implement changes based on his feedback.

In terms of connecting with outlets that use freelancers, Gabler recommended pitching both editors
carmichael lynch spong
Carmichael Lynch Spong hosted the non-traditional media panel event.
and contributors. After all, the editors will be seeing the story eventually.

Another constant mentioned by participants is to get in touch with them in the way that they prefer to be contacted. “Getting phone calls from publicists and PR reps is always annoying and often works,” said Gabler, quoting Twin Cities Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck.

In fact, Bornsztein recommended following up. That shows him the story – and his blog – are important.

While Bornsztein and Garland placed more of an emphasis on photos than the others, all panelists agreed that solid content and excellent relationships are important to successfully navigating today’s new media world.  

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2013 PRSA Leadership Assembly recap

The City of Brotherly Love lived up to its name by welcoming the Public Relations Society of
America (PRSA) with banners on the blocks surrounding the hotel hosting this year's Leadership Assembly. It would prove to be an eventful weekend with a lively discussion of the Accredited in Public Relations credential, the induction of Minnesota's Doug Spong into the College of Fellows, and the election of new officers for the Midwest District.

Leadership Assembly
Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, started out the day with a "State of the Society" address that covered 10 highlights of the year:
  1. Veterans: With the Moving Veterans Forward Initiative, PRSA offers resources to veterans to help them make the transition to the civilian workforce.
  2. Advocacy: PRSA leaders were quoted in many prominent media outlets in 2013, including Spong in AdvertisingAge regarding Minnesota's proposed tax on advertising.
  3. Ethics: With the new ethics app, PRSA members can have materials related to public relations ethics at their fingertips.
  4. Diversity: PRSA continues to promote diversity and plans to launch its Career Toolkit in 2014.
  5. MBA Initiative: Public relations is coming to a B-School near you, including the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas.
  6. Member Emeritus: This new program recognizes the loyalty of individuals who have been members of PRSA for at least 50 years. Their dues are waived for the rest of their lives.
  7. PRSSA Students: A PRSSA Internship Center was created to connect PRSSA members with employers. In addition, PRSA created the Higher Education Programs Online Directory, designed to help individuals "research programs available to advance your studies and career in the fields of public relations and marketing communications."
  8. APR: As the APR celebrates 50 years in 2014, PRSA is taking a look at what lies ahead for the credential (more on that below).
  9. Strategic Planning: The 2014-2016 PRSA strategic plan is set, with the vision that "Public Relations is a lead discipline in driving strategic goals and achieving excellence in every organization."
  10. Our Members: As a volunteer membership organization, members can make "One PRSA" a success.
In addition to Nall's presentation, William Murray, CAE, PRSA president and COO, provided a look at 2013 so far. Joseph Cohen, APR, PRSA chair-elect, offered a look ahead at PRSA's "fearless future."

The most passionate debate of the day, however, related to the report by Organizational Performance Group (OPG) on the APR. Research provided by OPG found that:
  • Thirty-five percent of the public perceive the public relations field negatively;
  • The number of PRSA members with accreditation has declined; and
  • Employers are not using the APR as a hiring guide.
OPG provided three roads for PRSA to take in regard to the APR: discontinue the APR, make low-key changes, or overhaul the credential. In order for the APR to thrive, OPG recommends an overhaul.

advertising agencies
Minnesotans celebrate Doug Spong's College of Fellows induction.
College of Fellows
Spong earned the tremendous honor of being inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows at a black-tie event at The Academy of Music Ballroom in Philadelphia. He was inducted with 13 others and was walked to the stage by Minnesota's most recent inductee to the College of Fellows, Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA.

PRSA Midwest District
At the PRSA Midwest District annual meeting held on Oct. 27, the following individuals were elected to lead the district in 2014:
pr consulting
The PRSA Midwest District gathers at Leadership Assembly.
  • Chair - Lori Marble, APR / Southwest Missouri Chapter
  • Chair-Elect - Kellie Wostrel, APR / Nebraska Chapter
  • Treasurer - Jill Alexander, APR, Fellow PRSA / St. Louis Chapter
  • Secretary - Karen Korsgard, APR / Central Illinois Chapter
  • Immediate Past Chair - Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC / Minnesota Chapter
  • District Representative for National Nominating Committee (appointed) - Lewis Pryor, APR / Central Illinois Chapter (primary)
  • Alternate District Representative for National Nominating Committee (appointed) - Herb Ritchell / Chicago Chapter (alternate)
Based on the energy from this year's Leadership Assembly and the insight provided by PRSA leaders, 2014 should be an exciting time for the organization. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...